Simplicity in Design: 4 Ways to Achieve Simplicity in Your Designs

learn wys'2 achieve simplicity in yr designs and recognize why certain designs are overly complex. simplicity is evident in many of the widely-used essentialisms created by somd' most successful companies. simplicity is also 1-odda key reasons why some companies do betta tha' their competitors. g’s search engine, apple iphones, and wha’sapp messenger and clean weather widgets are just a few of the widely pop essentialisms that exhibit simplicity. this article will teach you how to recognize and achieve simplicity and why it results in gr8 usr interface design.

wha’ is simplicity?

simplicity is all the rage these dys. tis a design philosophy that is victored by many successful companies and fans of those companies alike. apple inc., a highly successful multinational tek company, fites for simplicity in design. steve jobs, the l8 ceo of apple, an american entrepreneur and investor, once said:

“that’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. simple can be harder than complex. you ‘ve t'work hard t'get yr thinking clean to make it simple. but it’s worth it inna end cause once you get there, you can move mountains.”

author/copyrite holder: wesley fryer . copyrite terms and licence: cc by 2.0

usrs of all ages ♥ the apple macbook. this is an ex of how simplicity reduces intimidation and allos a wider range of usrs to be unafraid to use the product.

when you ask some1 why they ♥ their apple iphone or apple macbook, you usually get the answer similar to this: “cause it’s simple!”. when you probe further, most fans and usrs of the product can’t really explain how and why it’s simple. to them, “it just works.” as steve jobs ‘d say. simplicity aint easy to define or measure. joe sparano, an american graphic designer and design educator says it best:

“good design is obvious. gr8 design is transparent.”

designing a usr interface that ponders the usr’s aims, whether vast or few, and offers the simplest means of achieving these goals, tis h8 of design sophistication. simplicity in design isn’t just bout the minimal colors you use or the whitespace you include, it’s bout goin deep into yr usr’s Ψs and using that cogging to design a product that rids itself of inconsequential essentialisms and closes the gap tween the usr’s goals na means to achieve those goals through yr system.

4 wys'2 achieve simplicity in yr designs

1. maintain clarity: cogg and design for yr usrs’ main goals

whether yr website acts as an online retailer for consumers or yr product is an enterprise solution designed to help company executives manage their projects, maintaining clarity inna usr interface you design is key to usr success and usr satisfaction. clarity allos yr usrs to cogg wha’ you’re trying to help them achieve. if yr design has too much extraneous information, usrs will ‘ve trouble navigating yr site. help the usr cogg the message you’re trying to convey na actions the usr can take within the 1st few 2nds of browsing. call attention to 1-ly the core aspects of the page you want yr usrs to focus their attention to.

here’s an ex comparing the pop internet domain registrar and web hosting company, godaddy’s old website from 2005 with one that becomes less cluttered, a decade l8r in 2016. websites are catching onna the val of simplicity in design but thris still a lotta work to do!

author/copyrite holder: godaddy, 2005. copyrite terms and licence: fair use.

the domain-name provider, godaddy’s cluttered website backin 2005 shows how tis difficult for any usr to fig out how to achieve their goal when thris no clear call-to-action or nxt steps. it seems that back then godaddy offered a lotta srvcs without really knowing or valuing wha’ the majority o'their usr’s aims were.

author/copyrite holder: godaddy, 2016. copyrite terms and licence: fair use.

the domain-name provider, godaddy’s improved and de-cluttered website in 2016 shows how much clearer yr message can be if you focus on designing for yr usr’s goals. b4 you start designing, be sure to fig out wha’ yr usr’s main goals are.

as the realm’s most pop search engine witha mkt share of almost 70% as of sep 2015, there are many reasons why g inc. beat out yahoo inc. and many other competitors backin the early 2000s. one o'em is by staying true to simplicity by maintaining clarity. comparing the two search engines, you can see that g has a very clear usr interface that matches the usr’s goal when utilizing a search engine: search. meanwhile, yahoo’s home page has a lot for the usr to take in. tis unclear as to whether yahoo intends for the usr to browse aimlessly or randomly select a pop new story that maybe completely irrelevant (and distracting) to wha’ the usr is searching for.

author/copyrite holder: yahoo inc., 2016. copyrite terms and licence: fair use.

yahoo’s home page diverts the usr’s attention away from their main goal by having too many things goin on at one time (2016).

author/copyrite holder: g, inc. copyrite terms and licence: fair use.

the realm’s most pop search engine, g, directs the usr’s attention to one thing 1-ly: search (2016).

remember: maintain clarity by designing for yr usr’s main goals. don’t confuse yr usrs with extraneous information tha're irrelevant to those goals. help yr usrs cogg wha’ actions they can take by calling attention to 1-ly the core aspects you want'em to focus on.

2. make use of automation: design for a minimum amount of conscious and cogg effort

inna paper ‘controlled and automatic human information processing’, cogg scis walter schneider and richard shiffrin stated that well-rehearsed behavior becomes “automatic”. this refers to the tendency for humans to perform common, practiced tasks witha minimum amount of conscious, cogg effort. take for ex the toaster. it’s an invention that has experienced lil change inna past several decades. the toaster is simple to use and requires very few interactions to achieve appliance-rel8d goals. ⊢, interacting w'da toaster requires a minimum amount of conscious awareness, leading to “automaticity”, which makes usrs feel at ease and in control without much effort.

author/copyrite holder: donovan govan . copyrite terms and licence: cc by-sa 3.0

a two slice sunbeam toaster from 2005 is an ex of how an interface designed for automation stands the test of time.

another ex ‘d be messenger apps that show lil variance in appearance tween the ≠ mobile interface designs. witha familiar interface and common functionality, usrs are easily able to adapt to ≠ messenger apps.

author/copyrite holder: hike messenger and wha’sapp messenger. copyrite terms and licence: fair use.

two ≠ messenger apps, similar mobile usr interface components. this shows how leveraging existing customs and designs cannelp automate the usr’s cogg process when using yr app.

remember: make use of automation by designing for the least amount of cogg effort. fig out wha’ the comm1-ly practiced tasks and processes are and incorporate them into yr designs whenever possible.

3. limit options: design for a strong “information scent”

among others, ed chi, an ackd american computer sci and research sci at g identified our tendency to detect 1-ly those things tha're relevant to our current goal; they called this “folloing the scent of information”. the best usr interfaces lead usrs through a desired path with clear indication of the individual steps required to complete their usr goals. this can be achieved by making the goal “scent” strong; displays nd'2 be uncluttered and primordial information centralized or in clear view.

in order to make information scent strong, we can limit the options for the usr to ponder n'our usr interface. limiting options removes indecision and hesitation, eliminates confusion and reduces over-use of the ‘back’ button. apps and widgets are really catching on and focusing design efforts onna key goals of the usr. for ex, the weather widget does a gr8 job of eliminating all essentialisms that give off a “weak” information scent in a regular weather-reprting website. the designer of the weather widget knows that the usr is really 1-ly looking for the key weather information measured by degrees celsius (or fahrenheit) na ability to change zone through the settings icon.

author/copyrite holder: the weather channel enterprises, inc. copyrite terms and licence: fair use.

the weather channel’s website backin 1999 is an ex of how too many options can cause poor usr experience for something a simple as looking up the weather forecast.

author/copyrite holder: weather widget theme dev team. copyrite terms and licence: fair use.

a typical and pop type of widget used in many mobile phones. this is an ex of how limiting options cannelp usrs achieve their goals faster and + efficiently, which creates a better usr experience.

remember: limiting options and designing for a strong information scent cannelp you remove the burden of indecision and hesitation from yr usrs.

4. reduce the gulf of execution: make yr usrs see how yr product cannelp them achieve their goals

inna pop book, ‘the design of everydy things’ by don norman, a contemporary design thinker and co-founder of the nielsen norman group, the term “gulf of execution” describes the gap tween a usr’s goal na means to exe that goal. it’s a ψ-chological gap tween the human na system interface where the screen representations of the steps towards the goal ‘d match the ψ-chological goals of the usr as much as possible.

when a usr looks atta usr interface offa system, they ‘d be able to transl8 their goals as they cogitate the system through its various limitations and capabilities. the harder tis for the usr to see a means to exe their goal through the system, the wider the gulf of execution. the wider the gulf of execution, the higher chance yr usrs will give up using yr product.

comparing the gulf of execution offa weather website to that offa weather widget, you can see how a simpler usr interface can lead to a narrower gulf of execution. the wider the gulf of execution, the higher chance yr usrs will give up using yr product. designers ‘d always strive for a narrow gulf of execution.

the weather widget, mentioned inna previous section, has a very narrow “gulf of execution” as the № of aims (e.g., looking up local weather information) are lo na means of achieving them is lil. onna other hand, the weather channel website has a wider “gulf of execution” as the № of aims of the usr remain the same but'a means of achieving them is widely varied.

increasing the № of means of achieving a limited № of system goals creates needless complication. successful systems are designed w'da usr’s primary goal(s) in Ψ and take into ponderation the limits of human memory na amount of attention allocated to each goal.

remember: the narrower you can make the gulf of execution, the + likely yr usr will cogg how to interact with yr usr interface. make yr product simple enough for yr usrs to cogg how they can use it as a tool to achieve their goals.

the take away

it’s not easy to design for simplicity. it’s not supposed to be. yr job as a ux designer is to dig deep inna'da complexities of everything from usr goals to system constraints in order to output a presh and easy to use design thall help usrs achieve their goals effortlessly. t'get started onna path to simplicity and incorporate them into yr designs, be sure to:

1. maintain clarity: cogg and design for yr usrs’ main goals

2. make use of automation: design for a minimum amount of conscious and cogg effort

3. limit options: design for a strong “information scent”

4. reduce the “gulf of execution”: make yr usrs see why they ‘d use yr product

when you take into ponderation the limits of human cogg, you will find that you can better match usr goals to the system tulz and pathways you design for yr usrs.

references & where to learn +

course: the practical guide to usability:…

to find + information on information scent, please see:…………

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